Last 20 Miler Before Philly

Last Sunday morning’s run was to be my last 20 mile run before tapering for the Philadelphia marathon. However, the surprise snow storm on Saturday froze overnight and turned my running course into an ice skating rink. I still did the 20 miles that morning and got an intense workout to my stabilizer muscles. But I didn’t feel it was quality given I had to decrease my pace to stay safe.
Since then I’ve been itching to do another long run, but scheduling it is tough because I’m now within the typical “three week taper” phase of training. So, I was able to fit it in at 3:30 am this morning, before work. I didn’t want to wait until Sunday because that is exactly two weeks prior to the marathon. At least this gives me a couple extra days of buffer.
I ran an average pace of 8:21, but my goal was to stay below 8:30. Only one of my miles crept above at 8:31. I think it was mile 15 and there were some minor hills involved. I didn’t use any gu because I wanted to get to that feeling of no energy and fight through it in the end… Mission accomplished.
I also used this run as an opportunity to test out RunKeeper’s audio cues. I’ve used them in the past, but the settings weren’t very granular. A recent update to the app allows me to configure the pace cues at quarter-mile intervals. This worked well this morning because I was reminded of my pace every .25 miles without having to check my Garmin 310 so frequently. If my quarter pace was too slow, I pushed a little extra in the next quarter to compensate.
I was worried that quarter mile pace cues would get very irritating after 20 miles, but they ended up being very useful. Thank you RunKeeper. I will use the same technique in the marathon to help me achieve my goal of 3:10.
So my taper has officially begun but i will continue to do speed work through next week. Tomorrow I will run the Conquer the 5k(s) at the ETS campus in Princeton. And on the 12th I’m registered for the Tough Mudder. I plan to run that pretty slowly, and have fun since it is just 8 days before the marathon. I wouldn’t want to injure myself for Philly 🙂

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